Home Selling Checklist - The Process Of Selling Your Home
Once you've made the decision to sell your home, it's time to think about what comes next.Throughout the process, you may find it beneficial to have a checklist to help guide you in some very important choices that you will be making in the coming months.
Interview Several REALTORS®
A REALTOR® is a person who you will enlist to help with the selling of your home.Just like no two homes are alike, no two owners are alike and each has different needs when it comes to real estate.The REALTOR® that you ultimately choose will have access to your home at any time and will be responsible for marketing it to potential buyers.As such, you should choose someone that you feel comfortable with and will do the best job for you.The only way to know which REALTOR® this will be is to speak with more than one, ask plenty of questions and get a feel for how they do business.
Get An Appraisal
When you list your home for sale, an appraisal will be helpful for a number of reasons.As the seller, you may wonder why you would need to have your home appraised, but here's why.As a seller, you do not want to overprice or underprice your home.If you ask for more than the home is actually worth, lenders won't likely grant a loan even if you find a willing buyer.If you price your home too low, not only will you be taking away from your own profit, but potential buyers may wonder what's wrong with the home that it's priced so far below market value.
With an appraisal, you can list your home with the knowledge that you need to make sure the price is right.If you want to advertise the home as a bargain, sell it somewhat below the appraised value.Buyers will know they are getting instant equity in the home and lenders will see the investment as a good one.
As a final thought to choosing an asking price, note that your REALTOR® will require a commission and possibly other fees in connection with listing your home on the market.It's perfectly acceptable to ask the REALTOR® for a written summary of these fees, as opposed to just a mention of them in the contract, and how much they will be.With this information, you will know exactly how much money you will have left in your pocket from the sale of your home.
Decide How Quickly You Want To Sell
Believe it or not, your schedule could greatly impact the listing price.If you are in a hurry to sell, you may find that a competitive asking price will help you to get the cash you need much quicker.A price that reflects the higher end of a buyer's budget may take some time to sell, so consider these factors when pricing your home.
Make Time For Updates
Your REALTOR® will offer advice as to what needs updated, repaired or changed in order to maximize the potential of your home.When a buyer looks at a house, they are looking at the cost, needed repairs or upgrades, decor, etc.Once your REALTOR® does a walkthrough and explains what, if anything, needs updated, you will commit to an asking price and sign the listing agreement.
As a seller, you are probably already aware that potential buyers will make an offer that could be less than your actual asking price.Most REALTORS® will tell you that if you ask for 'X' amount of dollars, buyers will probably offer you 'X' amount instead.That's the name of the game, and you will need to decide whether or not your asking price is firm or negotiable.If an offer comes your way, you will always have the option of making a counteroffer or simply rejecting the deal altogether.
As a final thought to the negotiation process, keep in mind that buyers typically offer less than they are actually willing to pay initially.Most offers are time sensitive, which means you may have to make some quick decisions.Of course, your REALTOR® will be there to guide you through every step of the process and will likely offer an opinion as to whether or not an offer is fair in the current market.
Close The Deal
When the price is right and you agree to the terms, it's time to say goodbye to your former home and hello to a brand new life.Letting go is not always easy, but moving forward is a part of life.If you still live in the home, most contracts will require that you move within 30 days.If you no longer live in the home, most buyers will want to move in immediately.
Choosing The Right Listing Agreement
When listing your home with a REALTOR®, you will be required to sign an agreement.This document will outline all of the agreed upon terms, including the asking price of the property, the REALTOR'S® commission, length of the agreement, cancellation policy (if any) and other details that will govern how the listing is handled.As a homeowner, it's important to choose the right listing agreement to fit your needs.
Evaluate Your Options
When you decide to sell your home, talk with several different REALTORS®.Speak with them over the phone, meet with them in person, ask for references or do anything that you can to get a feel for how they do business.In real estate, punctuality is a must.The REALTOR® that you choose should return your calls, answer your questions and should provide a listing agreement that coincides with any verbal agreements that you may have had regarding the listing.For instance, if you tell your REALTOR® that you only want to list your property for six months, make sure the listing agreement reflects six months and not one year or longer.In addition, make sure that your asking price is the same in the agreement as you agreed upon in earlier discussions.
Exclusive Right-To-Sell Real Estate Agreement
This contract is the most common in the real estate industry.With this agreement, the REALTOR® will earn a commission regardless of whether they sell the house or you sell the house yourself.Always make sure you understand what you are signing.
Open Real Estate Listing Agreement
This type of contract allows a homeowner to list with more than one REALTOR® in a non-exclusive manner.The agent responsible for presenting a buyer who purchases the property will receive the commission, which means REALTORS® will compete to see who can sell the house first.If the owner eventually sells the home without the help of a REALTOR®, they are not required to pay anyone a commission.An Open Listing Agreement is not common with REALTORS®, but it is one option to consider.
Exclusive Real Estate Agency Listing
This type of agreement requires that the homeowner list their property with only one real estate agency.Unlike an Open Listing Agreement, where the homeowner can list their property with multiple REALTORS®, an Exclusive Agency Listing entails only one agency being granted permission to list the home.
Read The Fine Print
Before signing any type of contract, homeowners must read over every detail to ensure that it represents the full agreement between themselves and their REALTOR®.Some things to consider include the length of the contract.Some REALTORS® prefer to have a minimum of one year to list a property, but the homeowner will have the option to negotiate.Some owners prefer a shorter term, such as one to six months.
Every real estate contract should outline a cancellation policy, which will provide details surrounding a release and/or fees and penalties.Some agents will offer a cancellation policy that allows the homeowner to cancel the contract by providing a 30-day written notice at any time.
Getting Your Home Ready to Sell
You would never dream of inviting guests to your house without making certain preparations, so don't invite potential buyers without first making the necessary updates by preparing your home to sell.If you are like most sellers, you want to get as much as possible for your home and you want to do it as quickly as possible.
After you've lived in a house, it becomes much more than four walls and a ceiling.It's a home and it has a lot of good memories.Your first step to preparing your home to sell is to realize that you will take these memories with you wherever you go, but you won't be taking the house.It can be difficult to let go, but the task will be much easier if you start to think of it as a new beginning rather than an ending.
An important part of getting your home ready to sell is in staging the decor for potential buyers.When you stage a home, you create an environment that is free of any personal items, such as photos and/or anything that stands out as being customized for you or your family.When a potential buyer walks through your home, they need to envision their belongings and decor without being distracted by yours.While these items may be special to you, they could possibly prevent the buyer from being able to imagine their own style complimenting the home.
In addition to removing any personal items, make sure that you remove any clutter from the home.A clean home seems larger and more inviting, whereas a lot of stuff lying around could give the impression that the home is too small or cramped for storage.Pack up any knickknacks, remove your children's drawings from the refrigerator and clean up your counter space in both the kitchen and bathrooms.
Staging Your Home
Now that your house is clean, it's time to put the finishing touches on the staging process.A solid, neutral shade in a tablecloth should be selected for the dining room table.Depending on your decor and wall coloring, a solid white, sand or ivory covering will work well.In the center of the table, a vase with fresh cut flowers (or silk, if you have allergies) will add a nice accent.Did you know that the kitchen and bathroom are two of the main selling points to any home?Keep this in mind when preparing your home for potential buyers.
The living room should have one focal point, whether it be a fireplace or breathtaking view of the outside world.If you have too many features screaming out at potential buyers, they may feel overwhelmed, so focus on one aspect and make it shine.If you have a mantle, line it with three candles that match your decor in color.Place a large candle in the center with one smaller one on each end, which will be reminiscent of a perfectly matched bookend set.A home with a stunning view should have window dressings that accent the positive, instead of hiding it.If your furniture has a design of any kind, mask it with a solid slipcover to compliment the flooring or wall color.Some homeowners also add a fresh coat of paint to their home, which will bring life back into a fading color.Turn on the lights and open the blinds and draperies to create a bright and inviting environment throughout your home.
Where To Store Your Stuff
Now that you know how important it is to remove any clutter and oversized or bulky furniture, you need to know where to put it.If you already have a new home, you can simply move it there.Otherwise, you can put it into storage until you are ready to move.It's important to leave some essentials in your former home for potential buyers to see, such as a dining room table, a sofa and chairs, bed, etc.Any additional furnishings that seem to interrupt the flow of your home, or make it feel cramped, should be removed.You do not want potential buyers to feel as though the house is too small.
Details, Details, Details . . .
As a final strategy to prepare your home to sell, make sure that you have any carpet stains removed, windows cleaned, fresh linens placed in the bedrooms and bathrooms, etc.You would be surprised how many people pay attention to even the smallest of details, so be sure to fix any small repairs that could be a turnoff for buyers.Last but not least, make sure your home looks just as good on the outside as it does on the inside.This means that your lawn should be cared for, flower beds must be maintained and any outdoor clutter must be removed.
Pricing Your Home To Sell
In addition to location and condition, the asking price of a home is at the top of the list of important considerations.When a potential buyer is looking for a property, they want to get the best possible value for their dollar.This doesn't mean that a home should be priced too low, but it does mean that knowing how to price your home is a must.
Know The Value
Regardless of whether you are in a buyer's market or seller's market, it's important for every seller to know the actual value of their home with the help of an appraisal.With this information, you will be able to choose a listing price that does not exceed the home's value.At the same time, you will know how to react to various offers that a potential buyer may make.If you can select a price that is affordable to a range of buyers, you may receive multiple offers thereby sparking a possible competition among the interested parties.
Do Your Homework
The asking price that you choose should not be based on an appraisal alone, but rather a combination of factors.One such factor is that of recent selling prices for comparable homes in the area known as “comps.”Important comparisons include construction year, square footage, views (if applicable), interior upgrades and additional features that make the home unique.While you're doing research, check out current listings and the asking price for each home available in your area.
Set A Realistic Timetable
In researching the sale price for other comparable homes in the area, you should also note the length of time a particular house has been on the market.Some homes practically sell overnight, while others may remain on the market for months without being sold.If you want to sell your home quickly, you should consider this when setting a price.A bargain will obviously move quicker, but it's important to make enough from the sale to feel good about your choice.If you aren't in a hurry to close, talk with your realtor about a fair starting price that's at or near the appraised value of your home.
Ask Your REALTOR® For Advice
While you hold the key, so to speak, to your house's actual asking price, most sellers will ask their REALTOR® for their opinion.After all, real estate is their business and they will be working with you through every step of the process.If you choose a REALTOR® that you trust, give great consideration to the advice they offer.
Marketing Tips: How To Sell Your Home
If you want potential home buyers to fall in love with your house, they first have to know it's for sale.This is where a strong marketing plan comes into play, which not only publicizes your property but gives people a preview of your home before they get there.
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
Regardless of whether your home is to be featured online, in a REALTOR'S® publication or paid advertisement, quality photos are a must.You must capture your home's best qualities in each image.Take a photo of the front and back of the home, along with interior photos of every room.Try various angles and lighting situations, which gives you the opportunity to choose the best shots.
When photographing any part of your home, make sure that it's spotless.Home buyers, especially those with children or pets, would love to see a yard.If your house has a lot of room to run, showcase it in photos.If you live in a condominium or townhouse, emphasize nearby activities that offer family fun.This may include a swimming pool, recreation center, tennis court, etc.
When you present your photos to the REALTOR®, he/she will use them to pique the interest of potential buyers.If a buyer likes the photos, their next step will be to schedule a tour of the home.Hence, the right photos are invaluable when selling real estate.
Believe it or not, one of the best marketing strategies is free.By placing a sign in your yard, you will let anyone driving by know that your home is for sale.Even if you live in an area that does not get a lot of traffic, a passerby may notice the sign and tell someone they know who is in the market for a new home.Your REALTOR® will likely provide you with a sign, which should be placed in a visible area of your lawn.You can also place a sign in your window or on your front door.Be sure to check with your local community association, if applicable, regarding placement and permission for this type of sign.
Many REALTORS® advertise their listings in local real estate publications, their business Web site and even the occasional ad in the newspaper.Depending on the terms of your listing agreement, you may be able to continue advertising the home independently.Check with your REALTOR® about their commission policy if you sell the house yourself.
If you decide to advertise yourself, try the local newspaper first.People looking to move into your area will likely be browsing the newspaper for real estate ads.Keep in mind that it's not just newcomers who may be looking to buy a new home.Perhaps an empty nester is looking for a smaller abode or a growing family is looking to upgrade to a larger house, so don't discount locals as potential buyers.
Hold An Open House
If you want potential buyers to fall in love with your home, invite them in to see what it has to offer.An open house allows for anyone to simply drop in, with or without an appointment, to tour the home.In some cases, a successful open house may result in an offer or possibly multiple offers that same day.You can advertise an open house with signs in your yard, posting a notice on local bulletin boards and by utilizing free or paid ads online and/or in your local newspaper.
In most cases, your REALTOR® will schedule the open house and will help answer questions from potential buyers.If you are still living in the home, the date and time should be convenient for you, but also a day that would be convenient for others.For most, the weekend is a good time and most open houses are an all-day event.
For the best approach at a successful marketing strategy, confer with your REALTOR®.Successful agents know their markets and what will likely be the best approach to selling your home.Don't be afraid, though, to offer your input and ask questions as you develop your marketing plan.
5 Good Reasons to Use an Agent When Selling Your Home
by Brandon Cornett
I recently sold a home in Round Rock, Texas, with the help of a real estate agent. I’ve also sold a home by owner before (FSBO), which allows me to compare the two processes. Out of those two experiences comes the following list.
Top 5 Reasons to Use an Agent When Selling Your Home
1. Objectivity – You are too close to your home to see it objectively. This can prevent you from pricing it realistically, and it can also make you blind to any improvements that are needed. My selling agent pointed out several things that I never would have noticed otherwise. He helped us see the big picture and understand the current real estate market. We had the home under contract in less than two weeks.
2. Pricing — We touched on this in the previous paragraph, but it needs more attention. Overpricing is one of top three reasons why homes don’t sell. (Weak marketing and a lack of preparation are the other two.) In fact, I would argue that pricing is the most common problem for homes that stay on the market for a long time. In many cases, homeowners are simply unable to price their own homes. They attach a lot of emotional value that doesn’t translate into real value. Your agent will help you determine a price based on actual market data, including recent sales and current listings.
3. Marketing — As a homeowner, you can only do so much to promote your house. A selling agent can do much more. Your agent will put your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and other high-visibility websites. If your agent is a Realtor, he or she will also add the listing to Realtor.com. Most real estate agents have large networks to work with as well. This means you’ll attract more buyers, than if you had sold it on your own.
4. Negotiations — When I was selling my house, I was CC’d on a few emails between my agent and various buyers’ agents. This showed me how much price haggling can take place during the process. Over and over again! It sure was nice having someone else do this on my behalf.
5. Stress Factor — When you’re selling a home, there are usually 50 other things you’re doing at the same time. Packing and cleaning. Having garage sales. Making trips to the Goodwill. Working on the details of your next house or apartment. And so on. It’s a lot to have on your plate at one time. By relying on a real estate agent for the selling side of things, you’ll reduce your stress considerably. It’s hard to put a price on this.
These are certainly not the only reasons to use a real estate when selling your home. But they are some of the biggest reasons, and they’re enough to give you a “nudge” if you’re sitting on the fence. Make things easier for yourself. Sell the home faster. Use a listing agent!
About the Author: Brandon Cornett is the publisher of the Austin Mortgage Center, a resource for home buyers in Austin, Texas. You may visit the author's website at www.austinprobe.com to learn more about this topic.
As the financial crisis continues to unfold in the U.S., many home sellers have found themselves in a bind. Prices have dropped, banks are failing, and home buyers are having an increasingly hard time getting mortgage loans.
So how does one go about selling a house in the current economy? For starters, you need to price your home properly. The pricing process intimidates a lot of sellers, especially those who are handling the process by themselves (without an agent). But it doesn’t have to be scary or confusing. Here are some tips to help you get it right.
1. Detach Your Emotions
When you live in a home for a certain length of time, you develop an emotional attachment to it. This is perfectly natural. After all, it’s your “safe haven” from the world. It’s where you go for privacy, security and relaxation. It might even be the place where you witnessed your child’s first steps, or their first day at school.
But the thing to keep in mind when selling your house is that emotional value does not carry over into financial value. In other words, you can’t price a home based on the memories it holds or the good times it has given you. You cannot set the selling price based on what the place is worth to you. Instead, you must base your numbers on what the house is worth in the current market, based on the concept of comparable sales that we will discuss below.
You might think this is something of a no-brainer or an obvious point. Yet, you would be surprise by how many sellers let their emotions get in the way of real estate reality.
2. Research Comparable Sales in Your Area
The pricing process will be much easier for you when you research comparable sales in your area, as well as homes that are currently listed for sale. The real estate terminology for this is “comps,” short for comparable sales. Here, we are talking about homes that are similar to yours that have been sold in your area recently. By using this information, you can determine your own price — and it will be based on real data, not on emotions.
If you decide to work with a real estate agent during your selling process, this will all be easier for you. This is one of the things an agent will handle for you. They refer to it as the comparative market analysis, or CMA. If you would rather handle the pricing yourself, you can do that too. Agents get their data from public information, not from some private source. They look at the same thing you could look at — recent sales data on similar homes in your area.
3. Consider Supply and Demand
This is always an important consideration for sellers, but right now it plays a major role. Due to recent economic events, the supply and demand of real estate is skewed like never before. The subprime mortgage crisis has led to record numbers of home foreclosure, which drives up the supply of houses. But it has also become much harder for buyers to qualify for mortgage loans, which decreases the demand. When supply goes up and demand goes down, it becomes a buyer’s market. This is what’s happening in most cities across the country right now.
Of course, there are some anomalies in certain cities across the U.S. For example, I live in Austin, Texas, and the market here has not suffered as badly as other cities. The reasons are twofold — (1) our housing prices were not artificially inflated before this crisis, and (2) there is a high rate of immigration as people relocate here from elsewhere in the country.
To figure out the supply and demand situation in your area, you’ll have to do some homework. Your local newspaper is a good place to start.
Conclusion and Going Forward
It may be harder to sell a home in today’s market, but it is by no means impossible. The key is to go into the process with proper research and expectations. If you do your homework and price your home based on real market conditions — and if you do a good job preparing and marketing the property — there is no reason you can’t sell in a reasonable amount of time. On the other hand, if you have conjured your asking price out of thin air, you will be in for a rude awakening.
About the Author: Brandon Cornett is a consumer advocate and publisher of the Home Buying Institute. You may visit the author's website at www.HomeBuyingInstitute.com to learn more about this topic.
Is "Short Sale" the right option for you?
What is a “short sale?”
A short sale occurs when the net proceeds from the sale of a home are not enough to cover the sellers’ mortgage obligations and closing costs, such as property taxes, transfer taxes, and the brokers’ commission. The seller is unwilling or unable to cover the difference.
Who do you contact first?
Seller must contact a qualify Real Estate office specializing in short sale negotiations. Please feel free to contact Bold Real Estate Group for more information or concerns about the short sale process.
How do I get the lender to reduce the amount of the mortgage owed?
Many lenders will not negotiate the mortgage balance until a written Contract for Sale and Purchase has been received. The seller is often asked to submit income tax returns, income stubs and other information so that the lender can determine if it is truly a hardship case. The bank will also need comps or a broker’s price opinion showing your estimate of value. Bold Real Estate Group short sale division will assist with all negotiations towards a successful resolution.
What if the lender won’t reduce the amount of the mortgage?
Unfortunately, not all lenders will reduce the amount of the mortgage if they feel that the seller can pay the deficiency. In this case, the seller will have to either sign a Promissory Note to the lender, borrow funds from relatives or other sources, or the sale won’t go.
Are there any tax implications for the forgiveness of debt?
The forgiveness of any debt is imputed income to the seller for tax purposes. A 1099 is usually given to the seller at closing and the imputed income is listed on the HUD-1.
What is Necessary from a Successful Short Sale Negotiator?
Sophisticated financial knowledge
Understand the lender’s language
Reliable – a company with name to protect
Time, time and more time
Strong supportive administration
Capability to handle high volume
Bold Real Estate Group Short Sale division is dedicated to working with home sellers towards a successful resolution of the Short Sale process. Our legal assistant will collect and review all the necessary documents, research tax, title and liens on the property and purchase contract for lender review. Our legal assistant will not collect a retainer fee for services. Legal fees and Real Estate commission will be paid by the lender as part of their NET loss for the short sale approval. Your lender is contacted weekly for updates and make sure positive progress is being made on the file. Please feel to contact our office with any questions or concerns regarding our short sale process.